Is this you?
When I think of karaoke I think back to my first experience of it. Being 18, having just arrived in Japan and on a bus going somewhere. We were all jet lagged and completely agog at our surroundings. For many of us, it was the first time being out of the country, let alone in Japan! At one point the tour guide, a petite (well, aren’t all Japanese people petite), young pretty girl gets up, grabs the microphone and a monitor above her turns on and unfamiliar music starts to play. Then we see Japanese characters appear and she starts to sing. In the deep recesses of my mind I knew the Japanese loved karaoke…but never did I expect this. That memory is burned into my head as my first karaoke experience!
That being said, I don’t karaoke regularly. In fact, I try to avoid karaoke bars at all costs.
“But you’re a SINGER!! Why?!??”
For exactly that reason. People find out you’re a singer and expect you to sound like Mariah Carey, Debbie Harry or Celine Dion. You never do and instead of enjoying your performance, they’re slightly disappointed because their expectations are set too high.
I also tend to start judging people subconsciously. Not that I expect people to be good when they’re doing karaoke. I mean, there’s good for karaoke, there’s good in the sense that it’s so bad it’s good. But often times there’s that middle ground which is the most painful for me. I was joined by another singer friend last night and we were discussing this. What often gives me a bad taste about karaoke are the people who think they can sing but are always just a little off pitch. It actually hurts my ears…which is part of the reason why I don’t go to karaoke that often.
That being said, I can’t avoid karaoke completely. After all, I’m friends with GAY people *shock, horror*. And as we all know, the gays love karaoke (or at least my gays do! *waves*) I actually recently enjoyed a karaoke stint at my friend’s wedding where they had karaoke set up at the reception. But then again, we were mostly singers in the same group and so there were no expectations set.
Last night I joined quite a few friends at Encore for fun and frolicking…and karaoke. Now, this is a semi regular gathering with these folks and the last time I was there I opted not to sing anything. But I decided last night that I’d probably need to get over my fear/haughty thoughts about karaoke and do it. As it happens, I had a great warm up because when I walked in my friend Michael told me he was doing Love Shack and that he needed a girl to sing with him! Karaoke is kind of like chocolate…once you have it, you want more. You can’t just have one! So I signed up for another song. I was holding off for my friend’s Tim & Susan to get there but finally turned it in…I was told at the time it would be a 2 hour wait. WTF?! Yes, this place is THAT popular. Lucky for me it ended up being only about a 50 minute wait. I heard my name called & I thought, well, this is it. Drank my liquid courage, put on my sunglasses and walked on stage.
At this point in the story, maybe you’re thinking you’d like to hear about how everyone came to their feet in utter awe or maybe you’d like to hear that I fell flat on my face in embarrassment….neither of those things happened. BUT, people did get into it. Tim walked in just as I started singing and joined me for a bit. Then unbenknownst to me, a girl I had just met that evening took the other mic for the last few verses with me. It was a lot of fun. Will I become a regular karaoke singer? No. Will I feel more willing to sing in the future? Yes. I just hope my voice teacher from college never walks into the bar I’m singing it at….she’d have a heart attack with my antics!